The Quickest Path to Enlightenment

The Quickest Path to Enlightenment

Date of Advice:
May 2016
Date Posted:
July 2018

In this card sent to a very kind student and her son, Rinpoche expressed his appreciation for their practice and explained how to correctly devote to the guru. The student's son had requested bodhisattva vows from Rinpoche.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche teaching in Singapore, 2010. Photo: Tan Seow Kheng.

My most dear, most precious, most kind, wish-fulfilling ones,
I have nothing much to say, only that I appreciate your understanding of Dharma and your understanding of the peak of Dharma practice—what is the best way to purify the defilements, the cause of sufferings collected from beginningless rebirths, and to collect extensive merits, the cause of happiness up to enlightenment. Not only the happiness of this life but also the happiness of future lives and ultimate happiness, liberation from samsara and full enlightenment—the total elimination of all the obscurations and completion of all the realizations.

Also, a quick way to achieve enlightenment is through your devotion to the guru, who has revealed the teachings of the path taught by the Buddha, then with actions correctly following the virtuous friend, doing the best you can.

I appreciate that. Try to collect merit as much as possible by practicing the path during this most precious human life, which is very short, it is not long. It looks like it is long but it’s not. For us, for our wrong concept of permanence, we look at life as permanent, but in reality life is very short. Every day children die in their mother’s womb, or outside, then in middle age and old age, every day in the world. In reality, death can happen at any moment—not just any day, but any hour.

It is said by the great bodhisattva Shantideva:

By thinking that today I won’t die,
Then I cannot stay comfortably.

That means spending our life being lazy or distracted, following the eight worldly dharmas. Shantideva is saying, how can we stay comfortably if we do that?

Also, you are the most precious mother, the wise, compassionate mother who has a very precious son who likes Dharma practice, especially the bodhisattva vows. That is very rare—the person who enjoys that is extremely rare, especially a young person like your son who wants to practice the Mahayana path and the bodhisattva’s path, so I highly appreciate that. Every day I thank him, I thank both of you.

The common people in the world don’t know karma, therefore they think that external things are the highest quality enjoyments. But they don’t create much good karma while they are enjoying these very expensive enjoyments, using them with great pleasure. They run out of good karma very fast; their little good karma finishes very fast. I just wanted to inform you of this.

The most important thing, the key practice, is pleasing the guru. That is the best offering. It purifies unbelievable obscurations and negative karma collected from beginningless rebirths, and it collects the most extensive merits and causes us to actualize the path to enlightenment, to achieve enlightenment quickest. Then no question about all the temporary success. It is the best, the quickest cause of success.

From the Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion:

It is said by Vajradhara that realizations follow the master.
(That means how you correctly follow the vajra master.)
By knowing that, with all actions please the guru.

So with all things, with devotion, follow the guru’s advice with body, speech and mind, by fulfilling the wishes of the guru and also by making material offerings if you have them. For example, even by offering a glass of water to the guru, you become closer to enlightenment. It means every single service, like that, and especially by pleasing the holy mind. This is the quickest path.

Whatever pleases the guru, attempt that.
(That means all the different things, whatever they are.)
Whatever displeases the guru, don’t do that.
By following that, then all the qualities—common, uncommon and sublime— are achieved in this very life.
(That means mahamudra realization and enlightenment.)

I may have also explained what Nagarjuna explained—that the greatest purification and the greatest realization and the quickest enlightenment is achieved by every pleasing service to the guru. Even offering to numberless buddhas, Dharma and Sangha and numberless statues, stupas and scriptures becomes so small. Therefore Nagarjuna said to abandon all the other offerings and attempt completely to make offerings to the guru.

I always pray for your family. You are making your human rebirth so worthwhile.

With much love and prayers ...